DARK KNIGHT, THE: DVD
Batman (Christian Bale) and Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) join forces with Gotham's new District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), to take on a psychotic bank robber known as The Joker (Heath Ledger), whilst other forces plot against them, and Joker's crimes grow more and more deadly.
Review by Louise Keller:
There's a sense of daring in this explosive Batman film, in which we constantly feel on edge, aware of impending risks and the fact that there is something to lose. Writer director Christopher Nolan is as firmly in control of this stupendous blockbuster with its massive stunts, well constructed plot, conflicted hero and darkly manic villain as Bruce Wayne in his Lamborghini or Batman in his batmobile. Christian Bale continues to be the perfect Batman but all eyes are on Heath Ledger, whose emotional fragility is magnified as he delivers an astonishing performance as an imposing, seriously disturbed Joker who plays with no rules.
'You can die a hero or live long enough to be a villain,' says Ledger's Joker as he creates chaos in a terrorised Gotham City where copycat Batman clones confuse law and order. Through the chaos comes 'a decent man in indecent times': Aaron Eckhart's District Attorney Harvey Dent, who believes in making his own luck despite the two-sided lucky coin he keeps close at all times. Eckhart is perfect for the role, and while Bale's Batman respects and understands Gotham needs 'a hero and with a face', there is underlying tension: after all they are both in love with the same girl (Maggie Gyllenhaal's Rachel).
All the performances are top notch and the relationships well formed. It is impossible to watch Ledger's performance without feeling a sense of poignancy. The strength of his Joker is its complexity and dark humanity: the way Ledger wears the character's pain is crystal clear beneath the opaque and grotesque clown's make up, the painted smile, lank, greasy hair, darting eyes and ever-moving tongue. It's nightmare material. And it's always a pleasure to see Michael Caine as Bruce Wayne's ever-faithful butler Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius, who distrusts too much power in one man's control.
There's a little bit of everything in this thrilling and often violent superhero fantasy - romance, humour, drama, stunts and loads of tension. The stunts are massive with exploding buildings, somersaulting cars, torpedoing helicopters and a huge truck which Batman lassos. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard team up to deliver a hummdinger of a musical score which never lets up. It's overlong, but for the genre, The Dark Knight is about as good as it gets, elevated by Ledger's memorable final curtain call.
Available on single disc DVD, 2-disc special edition or Blu-ray, special features include a featurette canvassing how Christopher Nolan and team developed the new Bat-suit, Bat-pod and composer Hans Zimmer musically characterised The Joker's reign of chaos. There are also six action-packed sequences shot for IMAX format, episodes of Gotham Cable's premier news program plus poster art and production stills.
Published December 11, 2008
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DARK KNIGHT, THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gylenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts, Cillian Murphy, Anthony Michael Hall, Monique Curnen, Nestor Carbonell
PRODUCER: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
SCRIPT: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan (characters by Bob Kane)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Wally Pfister
EDITOR: Lee Smith
MUSIC: James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nathan Crowley
RUNNING TIME: 152 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 16, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Featurette canvassing how Christopher Nolan and team developed the new Bat-suit, Bat-pod and composer Hans Zimmer musically characterised The Joker's reign of chaos. There are also six action-packed sequences shot for IMAX format, episodes of Gotham Cable's premier news program plus poster art and production stills.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: December 10, 2008